Free Internet Access In Public Libraries A Basic Human Right
September 24 2012
The President of the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) Heather Lamond told delegates
at the annual LIANZA conference that free internet access in libraries should be a basic human right.
"With so much of our government information and access to services only available online, how is everybody going to have
access to all the information they need to be an active participating citizen in our democracy?" she said.
Ms Lamond said there was currently no New Zealand law to ensure local government had to provide free public library
In her Presidential Address to the conference she called on librarians to ask their local MPs to support the Local
Government Amendment (Public Libraries) Bill through its first reading. The bill, being led by Labour MP Darien Fenton,
was drawn from the Parliamentary Ballot on August 30.
"This is an opportunity to ensure that all New Zealand citizens have access to core public library services at no
charge. We also need to ensure libraries are retained as a core service in the Local Government Act."
Ms Lamond said where people cannot afford to send kids to school with lunch and shoes they really cannot afford to pay
for using the public library (even that so called small nominal charge).
"Many of us can afford to buy what we want to read (either digital or print) but probably not everything we want to
read, but there are a lot of New Zealanders who can’t afford to buy anything to read – so they stop reading. What is the
potential impact on our literacy levels?"
Over 450 library and information professionals are attending the LIANZA Conference in Palmerston North from 23 -26
Free Public Libraries Twitter hashtag: #freepubliclibraries
Conference Twitter hashtag: #lianza2012
Picture of LIANZA President Heather Lamond attached.